Oh, Ear, you must hear!

Proverbs 15:31, “The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.”

Criticism.  There are many kinds that exist.  For the purpose of this post, I will focus on two.  Constructive and Destructive.  One is for the good of the listener and the other is not.

Constructive criticism is a tool that is used to educate.  When someone writes an article, for example, the writer may ask for others to read it or will have others read it when it is published.  Those readers will more than likely give an opinion of whether they like the article or not.  They may even offer some suggestions on items to change or add.  This is constructive criticism when the reader uses kind words and respect.

Destructive criticism is also a tool but is the opposite of constructive criticism.  That same writer writes an article and receives opinions.  These opinions will have hurtful speech in it that does not provide any suggestions that are worthwhile to the writer.  These responses will look to tear down the writer and hurt feelings.

In Proverbs, this verse is talking about the first criticism mentioned.  When a fellow person is trying to teach something, it is best to listen.  They may have more experience in the area.  This could be a great learning experience if done properly.  This is wisdom to the person that accepts rebuke.

God is love.  So when God offers criticism, it is with love and respect.  God loves us so much that he rebukes us to keep us on the right path.  There is never malice or ill-intent in Him.  Unlike God, people have malice and bad intentions in their hearts.  People can also be jealous that a writer may be more knowledgeable than them.  They may cut others down to make themselves feel better.  This is a bad habit to get into.

I know that I struggle with this.  When I get criticism, I sometimes take it to heart as an attack on me.  Even if no malice is present, I still feel it is personal attack.  It is after I prayed today that I received the inspiration to talk about this topic today.  I am working with God to learn to accept criticism better.  Good intentions should be graciously accepted.  That is the start of wisdom.

So the next time that you write and someone offers helpful suggestions, don’t take it as a personal attack.  Embrace this and say thank you.  Be the love that is Christ Jesus.  Be the wise person that God wants all of us to be.  Let the personal defense down and let God use those words for your good.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your love.  Your love will lead to Your rebukes and criticisms.  Help us be open to Your words.  Your words are for our good and to help us.  We need to be more accepting.  Work on my heart and the hearts of those like mine.  Help us to break down the walls we put up to defend against attacks that are not there.  I pray that we all learn to be more like You, Lord.  We love You and need You always.

In Your name we pray,

Amen

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